Personal View: my trip to Puerto Rico was my dream vacation


Hailey Gorzell, Staff Reporter


By: Hailey Gorzell


In October, my family and I were able to go on a once in a life time vacation to Puerto Rico for my brother’s wedding. My brother’s fiance grew up in Puerto Rico, a small U.S island that speaks Spanish. It was my first time there and I made unforgettable memories at their stunning rain forest wedding in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico.


My mom, dad, grandpa and grandma, my aunt Michelle, Angie (my aunt’s friend), and landed at the San Juan airport on October 15th. It was a humid 90 degrees as we exited the airport. The air was hot, and there were many Polica patrolling the area as the traffic officers blew in to their whistles. We got into our car and start heading towards the Airbnb. I was so excited, but nervous at the same time about getting lost because there were no street signs or working stop lights, besides the highways.


The roads are super slim and there are no lights or street signs on the small roads, but only on the highways. Plus, the roads are super crowded and mainly one way. My aunt was staying somewhere else, while we are staying with my grandparents. Once we got out of the car, I looked around and saw the white sand beaches and the other way the silhouette of the mountain peaks covered with fog.


After glancing both ways, we met the hostess at the door. On the way up the stairs, there was a gate of bars. Once we got to the room there was another set of bars and a sturdy door. We got inside, and it was a whole different story, shiny white tiles, lots of spotlights, and white leather couches with throw pillows. I walked into our room and saw beautiful paintings as well as a large closet and bed. The bathroom was a small square room with a large stone shower, with a small porcelain sink and toilet. We unpacked, and later went out to explore. I was ready for an adventure, after sitting through two long plane flights that we took on the way here.


My aunt Michelle, her friend, and my grandparents came with us as we drove through Old Suan Juan. Then, we drove up a steep, slim rode to an elegant view of the ocean. The sparkly clear water was so smooth and you could see all the way down to the coral reef. When we drove by, I saw many small shops and stands, as well as many performers and musicians. All the Puerto Ricans and tourists were dancing traditionally and having a great time. The energy was very exhilarating, and I noticed lots of singing and instruments. We drove into a parking garage, that had Spanish signs posted through out. My family and I began searching for a place to eat. We walked to a Puerto Rican restaurant named Raices. 


After reading the menu, we decided to go in and eat. We had amazing food and drinks. I got empanadas, rice, and beans, and it was so good! Everyone shared Puerto Rican-style fried cheese and we all had a great time. The waitress was super friendly and she served us great food in a quick amount of time. We all had a great time sharing stories and making each other laugh. Afterwards, we went back to the Airbnb, and everyone slept very well. 


The next day, we got up and went back to fort San Jose Castillo and we walked up to the top, and got in for free . We visited the gift shop and got a patch for girl scouts, some postcards, and gatorade. Then, we went in to each room and looked out the window and saw the ocean as far as the eye could see. The water was so clear you could see the coral all the way at the bottom even though we were up high on a hill far from shore. Then, we went to the top and looked out this square type building used for guns to be pointed at the enemy ships. After we went in the small overlook and saw an iguana tanning in the sun down below.

On the other side, there was a whole view of Old San Juan. Slim roads, and colorful businesses lined the Puerto Rican streets. In the middle of the roof there was old cannon balls used to fire at the enemy. After, we went down to look at the rest of the fort. We saw an alter were mass was held every day in the mornings. We put money in the donation box and prayed over each other. Then we went and saw the dungeon. It was dark and creepy, and there was a cell where the held prisoners for execution. As we walked back up, we went to the museum area. We took the elevator down, and then looked at the gift shop and museum. In the museum there were lots of artifacts and statues of famous weaponry and artillery used to defend the fort.


Afterwards, we went out to eat at Subway. After eating we went outside to visit all the shops and stands, and I got a mini drum toy, a ukulele, and I got a phone holder for our hiking adventures.  There was a port next to us, and we saw the Carnival cruise ship. It was so big and colorful, so we took a picture with the ship. My dad bought real leather key chains for a dollar. The man was making them right there, and my grandpa got one that the man had just cut and stained. After looking around for a little bit more, we had to go back so my dad and grandpa could pick up my cousin and brother’s friend from the airport. It was super hot and humid so I was glad to go back to the Airbnb.


Then, we went home and my dad and grandpa went to pick up my cousin at the airport along with my brother’s friend who had just landed.They came back after dropping off my brother’s friend Dale, and they bought my cousin. I ate leftover empanadas and chilled as everyone else freshened up. Then we walked down the street and got a Pina Colada. They put a pineapple leaf that I used as a spoon, and a pineapple chunk with cherries. I drank the Pina Colada as we strolled down the beautiful Puerto Rican shoreline.

Later on, for dinner we had to go to a dinner rehearsal for the wedding party. We got lost on the way there, and we were on the wrong side of town. After driving around for an hour we finally got there. Once we got there, I got a limeade and we ordered our food. I ate chicken Alfredo pasta with bread, and everyone else had cheeseburgers. The food was American, but it was very good. Everyone showed up including the wedding party, so my parents and grandparents told my uncle, cousins, and my aunt came to so we could all spend time together. After having fun and chatting with the whole family, we all went back to the Airbnb and crashed out for the night.


It was a Thursday morning, and it was the day of the wedding. We drove to a breakfast restaurant on the beach, and I ate eggs, bacon, hash browns, with toast. That was the best breakfast we had. The hash browns were golden crunchy and the scrambled eggs were cooked to perfection with salt. Then we went back to Old San Juan and visited the smallest house in the world and got palettes . We headed back to the Airbnb to get ready. After getting ready, we headed up to the venue in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico. The mountain roads were steep and winded sharply. We saw many small shacks for homes with many families crowded in. The air was humid and there were many large trees with wax leaves The mountains were steep and had much lush greenery. The mountainous scenery was beautiful.

Once we arrived, my brother took us around the venue. The ceremony was held under a large tree with twinkling lights, and the ground was stone, and the lighting was perfect. There were many white chairs for people to sit and watch the ceremony. All the groomsmen were in the Groom’s room along with my brother. But the girls were not there. I waited for a little bit patiently, and once Kissha and the bridesmaids arrived, I followed them into the Bride’s Room. 


It was so awkward, because everyone spoke Spanish, and they all were trying to speak to me in Spanish, and I had to tell them I only spoke English. I looked out the window, and saw everyone taking their seats for the ceremony. Everyone looked overflown with joy and ready for the wedding. Many bouquets, were on the bed, and I was given a bouquet and a decorative bird cage full of petals. We all lined up in rows, preparing to walk down the aisle into the ceremony space.


First, the Officiant, Royal’s friend Conrad walked out, followed by Royal and mom. I popped back into the room and saw Kissha waiting for Royal to leave with her dad and grandpa. Then when I came out, the maid of honor Irma and the best man Germy went out followed by all the court of honor. Everyone was waiting under the tree, then Kissha’s mom and Dylan the ring bearer went out. I walked nervous and excited throwing petals down the aisle. I turned to mom and dad who told me to walk up to the tree to stand with the court of honor.


Kissha walked out with her grandpa and her custom dress sparkled in the moonlight. Her hair was slicked back into a French Braid. Her elegant gown dragged beyond her sparkly stilettos. I thought she looked beautiful in her dress and it fit her perfectly. Then, she was passed on to her dad, and they walked up to the ceremony space. They stood hand in hand, then the ceremony took place, and we all stood around them. I felt overwhelmed with joy and my eyes even began to water. After the vows were exchanged, the ceremony was over. 


We all walked out and back into the Castillo, and the guests walked to cocktail hour. Appetizers were served along with small drinks. I had lemonade and a cheese filled puff. Then I went back, and found the wedding party to take pictures. Once we took pictures, I walked out and sat down. Then Royal and Kissha were announced and they came out and danced. My mom and brother, then did their mother-son dance. Then everyone sat down to eat dinner. For dinner, I had chicken with cream cheese and bacon and Puerto Rican style rice with beans.


After dinner, we all danced and had fun. We all got out on the dance floor and partied, it was so much fun! Royal and Kissha cut the cake and we took family photos. My cousins and I danced to the wobble, cupid shuffle, and many other popular wedding songs. At the end of the night Kissha’s mom and her band came out and sang and danced. They played the drums and we all did Puerto Rican dances. Even though they were singing in Spanish, the songs sounded beautiful and I eventually caught along. For dessert I ate two cupcakes and brownies with sweets. Everyone had lots of fun, and we stayed up until the middle of the night.


The next day we got up early, and got dressed for the day. It also happened to be my mom’s birthday. We all were going to El Yunque National Rain forest. Then, we got in the car and took off. First we went and explored the waterfalls, and then my uncle and his family met up with us. After we drove to an observation tower, walked up the stairs to the top and saw the mountainous rain forest overlook. I was overcome with the serenity and beauty of the lushess rain forest and all the wildlife that lives in it. After taking in the views for a few minutes we went out to explore the rest of the rain forest.


After, we parked and went to the head of the hiking trail. We began walking and half of my family turned back, because the trail was rocky and steep. It also was really hot and humid. Once we made it up to the top, we then had to go up the stairs of the observation tower. We had no water, and we only took three breaks. At the top there was a three sixty view of the whole island. We could see our family that looked like little dots at the bottom of the mountain. After we got down from our hike, we went to Dominios and ate pizza. We took the scenic route home, and happened to drive past the beach where the wedding party were celebrating, so we stopped.


I found sea glass and a coconut while searching on the beach. The sand was white and grainy, and every time you walked you sunk into the ground. The water was teal the waves broke every time they hit the rocks lining the beach. I got in the water and explored for a little bit, and after got a Pina Colada and sat on the beach to watch the sunset with my family. After we washed up, and then went to Tiuana’s for my mom’s birthday. I ate Mexican food and it was super good.


The next day, I got up and we went to the beach and went boogie boarding, and after packed for the plane ride home. We went to a french cafe and ate breakfast and then we got on the airplane to come home. I looked out the window and saw the clouds, as we rode back to Houston and then finally came back to San Antonio. We all gave each other hugs and said our final goodbyes. I really miss Puerto Rico and I loved our time there. The people were wonderful and the beaches, mountains and all the other amazing features were perfect. I loved Puerto Rico and I felt right at home there. The food, dancing, people, and experiences were great. These memories will definitely last a lifetime.